Where Are All the 2022 Halftime Show Memes?
Every year the Super Bowl Halftime Show keeps viewers glued to their TV screens as they watch to see what surprises the performers have up their sleeves. The best and biggest moments usually live on long after the show is over in the form of memes the internet. This year’s event was a little different from recent ones, for all the right reasons.
The show included headlining performances from Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and surprise guest 50 Cent. Even Anderson .Paak made an cameo on the drums. The hip-hop and rap hit-makers delivered a tight routine that somehow managed to fit in beloved smash songs from multiple discographies.
The set list included an impressive 10 numbers in the Halftime Show's brief 14-minute runtime. It dripped in nostalgia, celebrated hip-hop and elicited overwhelmingly positive reviews on social media.
However, the Halftime Show did not birth many memes.
After perusing Twitter and Instagram, it seems only two moments have emerged as the most memeable of the 2022 Super Bowl Halftime Show.
50 Cent's upside down entrance got some love, while meme-makers also honed in on Blige dramatically dropping to the ground like a starfish after her set.
Those two moments have earned their space in the digital spotlight. However, 2022's Halftime Show memes hardly compare to the past.
Some on Twitter proposed an explanation: This year's Halftime Show was simply too jam-packed with star power, laser-focused on the music and flat-out good to be transformed into a meme.
"I don't think I've ever seen a [H]alftime [S]how that was so good," one user mused. "It seemed like nobody was racing to meme and make fun of it."
Others pointed out how well-rehearsed everyone was.
With such a large group of performers, there was ample room for little glitches and small mistakes that would have birthed iconic memes. But they never happened.
Instead, everyone on stage, in the crowd and at home was focused on the music. The transitions occurred flawlessly, and there was minimal reliance on props or kitsch to add an extra level of glamour.
It just wasn't necessary; the music was more than enough, many Twitter users pointed out.
After the final jaw-dropping moments, fans took to Twitter to rave about the hits or to commend Eminem for taking a knee. They were justifiably in awe of all that went down.
We didn't get a Left Shark. There was no Selfie Kid. No one repelled into the arena and sparked comparisons to Sponge Bob. No one exited on the Reading Rainbow. There was no dazed and confused meandering through set pieces. No one took their shirts off.
Though we wholeheartedly enjoyed all the aforementioned memes, this year, there were simply no truly silly viral moments that people rushed to lovingly poke fun at.
However, no one seemed to miss any of it. They just repurposed memes from previous Halftime Shows to joke about how few we got in 2022. (Memers are nothing but versatile and capable of making the most out of any situation.)
It's not that the wildly memeable Halftime Shows in recent years were bad. Far from it.
The performers in the past — pop icons including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez and The Weeknd — all delivered incredible sets with no shortage of memorable moments.
We love to revisit their performances still years later — the campier, the better. They deserve all the flowers they got at the time, and we have nothing but respect for them.
It's just that this year's show was different.
Maybe the sheer amount of performers left no room for spectacles. There simply wasn't time or space.
Maybe the organizers wanted to focus on something different. The set was billed as the largest celebration of hip-hop in Super Bowl history, after all. That angle may have taken precedence over shock factor.
We may never know exactly why this year was different. The why doesn't matter in the long run.
What matters simply is that this year was different and was still beloved, even though we didn't get many good memes from it.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article accidentally noted Travis Scott as a Halftime Show performer, which is false.